Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Submarine R-12 Memorial Dedication

All Hands are invited to join the Ocean State Chapter of the Submarine Veterans of World War II and the U.S Submarine Veterans, Inc. Rhode Island Base at a dedication ceremony for a memorial to the submarine USS R-12 (SS 89), lost on 12 June, 1943.

The ceremony will be conducted at 1PM on Saturday, 6 October, rain or shine. A "Tolling the Boats” ceremony will also be conducted, remembering all 52 submarines lost during WW II. The ceremony will be conducted at the WW II Submarine Memorial, located at the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Route 2 in Exeter, R.I.

Invited guests and speakers include The Honorable Governor Donald L. Carcieri and the Commanding Officer of the USS Providence (SSN 719).

Chaplain from Naval Base Newport Manuel Biadog and the Silver Dolphins Color Guard from Submarine Base Groton will be providing their services for the memorial dedication.

(Photo: National Archives)

USS R-12 (SS 89) June 12, 1943 - 42 Men Lost

On June 12, 1943 between 12:20 and 12:25pm the R-12 was underway to conduct a torpedo practice approach. As she completed preparations to dive and was riding on vents, the forward battery compartment began to flood. The collision alarm was sounded. The Commanding Officer from the bridge gave orders to blow main ballast and close the hatches. The R-12 sank in an estimated 15 seconds from the sounding of the collision alarm. The Commanding Officer, two ships officers and three enlisted men were on the bridge at the time and were the only survivors. Those lost include four U.S. Naval officers, and thirty-six U.S. Naval enlisted men, and two Brazilian observers.

It was the opinion of the Court of Inquiry that the cause of the loss of R-12 was unknown, but probably was caused by the rapid flooding of the forward part of the ship through a torpedo tube.

The R-12 rests in six hundred feet of water near the Key West, FL submarine operating area.

(Photo: National Archives)

Sailors Lost On USS R-12 (SS 89) 6-12-1943

Almeida, A. G. D. LT (Brazilian Navy)
Bacon, G. W. EM3
Bronson, R. B. F2
Buckley, J. J. SM1
Cashell, F. E. ENS
Clayton, H. L. CSMA
DeMoura, J. L. LT (Brazilian Navy)
Flisher, R. F. F1
Garbulsky, L. E. S2
Graziani, F. P., Jr. GM1
Hall, J. C., Jr. EM3
Harman, E. L., Jr. CRMA
Horton, J. U. LTJG
Horvath, J. S. TM1
Knapp, H. H. S2
Krigbaum, E. CMOMMA
Kymer, L. V. MOMM2
LeVan, C. B. S1
Lobeck, H. P. TM3
Mathis, C. V. TM3
McKibben, P. R. EM1
Moncada, J. MM1
Mullis, A. J. F2
Ness, G. W. S2
Noonan, P. L. S2
Rabbit, J. H. RM3
Rafferty, E. J. MM2
Schnake, L. E. F1
Scott, C. "R" F2
Secor, H. R. RM2
Shellenberger, H. H. F3
Smith, C. S. S2
Starks, R. N. LT
Sullivan, D. C. RM3
Thompson, R. A., Jr. S2
Unger, J. D. LTJG
Vincent, E. W. MOMM2
Walker, N. W. MOMM1
Walsh, E. F. MOMM2
Wheeler, K. J. SC3
Young, W. D. STM2
Zimmerman, G. A. F3
Of the 52 Submarines lost in WWII the R-12 (SS 89) is designated as the lost boat for the State of Rhode Island.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Coincidence or Conspiracy?

Have you noticed that pairs of Middle Eastern men have been popping up in the news this August, only a few weeks away from the 6th anniversary of 9/11?

Case #1

Suspicious behavior on the Washington State Ferry system.
(Identities unknown)

Aug 20 the FBI asks for the public to help identify the above two men.
From Seattle King 5 News:
The FBI says the men were seen on more then one ferry and more than one run over the past several weeks. They were also taking photos of parts of the boat, which the agents won't reveal, but that apparently aroused the suspicions of passengers and crew alike.
Case #2

Indicted for carrying explosives in South Carolina.
(Ahmed Mohamed & Youssef Megahed)

As reported by the AP

TAMPA, Florida - Two Egyptian students at a south Florida university were indicted Friday on charges of carrying explosive materials across states lines and one was accused of teaching the other how to use them for violent reasons.

Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, 24, an engineering graduate student and teaching assistant at the Tampa-based University of South Florida, faces terrorism-related charges for teaching and demonstrating how to use the explosives.

He and Youssef Samir Megahed, 21, an engineering student, were stopped for speeding Aug. 4 in Goose Creek, South Carolina, where they have been held on state charges. A federal grand jury in Tampa handed up the indictment.


Both these incidents have similarities other than pairs of middle eastern men being involved. Both occurred near Naval installations and both installations have nuclear submarines berthed.

In the first case, of the men on the ferry, one of largest ferry routes is the Seattle to Bremerton run. Bremerton is the home of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) where nuclear powered ships are serviced including submarines.

The second case occurred in Goose Creek SC outside of the Charleston Naval Weapons Station. The Naval Weapons Station also has a command that trains nuclear reactor operators on a former Ballistic Missile submarine.

I wouldn't want to speculate too much but this coincidence is a little disturbing to this former bubblehead. I wonder if the FBI is checking the records of foreign trained ferry captains and harbor pilots?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Seasickness it’s not just for surface pukes

Time for a sea story inspired by a post by Vigilis at Molten Eagle .

I only got seasick once when making patrols and yes it was on the way back in after a full 70 day deterrent patrol.

On the Simon Bolivar we were heading back into Kings Bay GA with an ETA to tie up alongside the tender Simon Lake shortly after sunrise. That meant we’d surface at O-dark-30 and transit in with the sunrise at our backs. I pictured seeing the low lands of South Georgia and getting use to the distinctive smell of the coastal estuary again. No more gray bulkheads and San-1 inboard venting. A nice calm ending to another FBM patrol, Not So!

USS Providence (SSN-719) US Navy Photo
"More speed than sea state."

I had the mid-watch which meant I’d be the Nav-ET tech on watch for our transit in. Got up and headed for mid-rats, PIZZA! “I’ll have mine loaded with pepperoni, thanks”. With a contented belly full of greasy pizza I made my way to the Nav-center to relieve the watch. Two hours later I was sitting in the dark on the ESM stack while we were surfacing in GAIL. “No Close Contacts” was called from the scopes and me on the ESM. After all what idiot would be out in a full Gail at 2 or 3 in the morning? Other than the US Navy that is…

We surfaced the ship and headed in with no one on the bridge at first because of the weather. Eventually the bridge was rigged and I was shifted from the EMS to the Radar. With bucket at the ready I was prepared to watch the radar do that roundy roundy thing as the boat heaved, rolled, pitched and shuttered. Occasionally a large amount of water would come cascading down the bridge access trunk into the bear trap at the bottom of the ladder. I can remember thinking “Man, those poor F&*%ers on the bridge were getting hammered”. This went on for a good part on the remainder of my watch.

When I was relieved on the radar, lets just say, my bucket was empty but only because of my somewhat centerline orientation. Back aft I heard tell it was a hurl fest in nuke land. I was safe and had dodged the puke bullet or so I thought. It was time for a pee call and down to the lower level crews head. The closer I got to the head the stronger the puke smell and then the chains and signs “BLOWING SANITARIES”. Do I hold it, chance it and find a bowl that wasn’t full of puke or trek aft to the one head near the nuke land vomitorium?

Boom, woosh that golden flapper sound, someone had just opened the ball valve on one of the heads. I not only got to see the aftermath but also smell it. A putrid mix of vomit and the remaining contents of the sanitary tank, the poor SOB had vomited in the bowl then vented it back in his face. I lost it then and there in the bucket I was getting ready to stow.

“Station the piloting party.” Feeling somewhat purged, you always better after letting go a good one, I headed back up to control ready to help plot our course into the calmer waters of Cumberland Sound.

That was a 425 foot Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine, I can only imagine the rocking and rolling an SSN goes through. Seasickness it’s not just for surface pukes.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Four Months Submerged at the Pier

She has been sitting on the bottom for over four months and now it’s the US Army, or is that, the US Navy to the rescue.

(Juliett 484 (K-77) Summer 2006)

The Juliett 484 (K-77) Soviet era cruise missile submarine and co-star in the movie “K19: The Widowmaker” with Harrison Ford has been a floating museum in Providence R.I. for the last few years. The sub stopped being a floating museum back in April of this year when an intense spring nor’easter overwhelmed its rusting and leaky aft ballast tanks. Stern down the sub started taking on water through the aft public access hatch cut through its pressure hull. She flooded stern first and within about a day she was on the muddy bottom in over 35 feet of water. The next day she settled and rolled to port, parting a mooring line like a gunshot. The US Coast Guard closed the pier for public safety reasons.

From the outset the USS Saratoga Museum Foundation, owners of the Juliett, have said they intend to raise and restore the submarine but were unsure where to get the funds to so. The first hurtle a detailed salvage survey and engineering work is no longer a concern. U.S. Navy and Army divers will be conducting the survey dives and Navy Engineers will also be involved.

The US Army LCU (Landing Craft Utility) New Orleans (LCU-2031) has arrived in Providence RI from Tampa FL and will act as the diving support platform. Approximately 30 divers will be involved as part of the Department of Defense's Innovative Readiness Training program. The Army divers are coming from Fort Eustis, Va., and the Navy divers are coming from Norfolk, Va.

Both the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) will be involved in the operation. NECC will be conducting the diving operations and NAVSEA will be providing the engineering expertise for planning the eventual recovery of the submarine.

(LCU-2031 at the Pier in Providence RI site of the sunken K-77.)

The Providence Journal quoted Lt. Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, public affairs officer with the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command as saying “The idea is to give the divers training that differs depending on the location and conditions in terms of underwater visibility and other factors.” continuing that “Whenever possible, we want to simulate a realistic training environment”.

As with all things submarine related the Army and Navy involvement in the recovery of the K77 has been kept low key until finalized. This blogger knew about the Navy’s involvement over a month ago but like a good sailor kept running silent until the news broke today.

Friday, August 03, 2007

MIR Symbolism

The story of the Russians planting a flag on the sea floor at the geographic north pole is too rich to pass up all the metaphors, both the press and me included.

New cold war.
Hotly contested claims of mineral rights.
Canadians say Russian claims have no grounds.
Russia rejects cold reception.

(Russian English Language News Footage)
I have a previous post back in march covering the tourism aspect of the MIR expedition and how you could have been there for $80,000USD or $15,000 to stand on the deck and watch.

Of course we all know that this is only possible because of Global Warming (which has been, according to NOAA, about 1.0 to 1.7°F between 1906-2005.

Along the lines of North Pole symbolism, a Brit was up there a couple of weeks before the Russians for a little global warming dip.

(A very cold swim)

On a truly Scientific note:
Nearly a month before the Russian submersibles, accompanying news crews and the 37-year old British lawyer/swimmer the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has been quietly conducting polar sea floor research with AUVs. The WHOI scientists are exploring the arctic ocean's Gakkel Ridge the deepest mid-ocean ridge, ranging from 3 to 5 kilometers (1.8 to 3 miles) deep, and it is also perhaps the slowest-spreading ridge.

The goal of the Gakkel Ridge expedition is to see if active hydrothermal vents are really there, to find them, and to learn if they, and the communities of life around them, are different. Videos of this exploration and its goals can be found Here.

I'll take the science over the symbolism, but there is something to be said about doing something really cool, even if it was mere symbolism. -LL

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tomahawk Shooter - SSN old school

Bubblehead has a cool video up on his site of the USS Florida (SSGN 728) doing a multi TLAM launch.

I did my own little search of GoogleVideo and found this interesting clip of the USS Louisville (SSN724) doing that TLAM thing the per Trident SSGN way.

Great remix with the SNL clip of the VP doing a Slim Pickens Dr. Strangelove impression.

Vintage 2003 opening salvo footage.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Marines are Mammals?

Interesting news film on the Pentagon Channel today on the Navy's Marine Mammals program.

From an Armed Forces Press release:

"The Pentagon Channel was granted extensive access to these remarkable animals and their trainers, handlers and veterinarians, and afforded rarely seen underwater video of the mammals in action."

Submarines have been known to transport Navy SEALS on occasion could Seal Lions and Dolphins be next?

Friday, July 06, 2007

SSN719 helps celebrate a 231 Birthday and 222 Anniversary

This past July 4th was the nation's 231 birthday, it was also the 222 consecutive holding of the Bristol, RI 4th of July Parade. Bristol's Annual Fourth of July Celebration was established in 1785 and is the oldest continuous celebration of its kind in the United States.

This year the local WWII Submarine Veterans, RI Base of USSVI and about 40 of the Officers and Crew of the USS Providence participated in the parade.

Below are some photos of the parade's submarine flotilla.
(Click on the Photos for a larger view)

Our three vehicles and the submarine model one of the Subvets brings to the parade every year. The Sub model isn't in any way historically accurate with a 3 bladed screw, missile tubes and the hull number 571 but the crowds and kids love it.

A small but dedicated group of WWII and Cold War Submarine Veterans. The WWII Vets have been doing the Bristol parade for many years. The group of RI Base USSVI Subvets have been helping our senior Brothers of the Phin since founding of our base in 2005.

Special Note:
The gentleman in the upper left in the above photo is WWII Submarine Veteran James T. Butterworth. Jim served on the 'Submarine Killer' USS Batfish (SS-310) on war patrols 4, 5, 6 and 7. That 6th war patrol entered the Batfish into submarine history sinking three enemy submarines and earning it the following Presidential Unit Citation:

"For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese combatant forces during the sixth War Patrol in the South China Sea from December 30, 1944 to March 3, 1945. Persistent and aggressive in her search for vital targets, the USS Batfish relentlessly tracked down the enemy and in three separate, brilliantly executed attacks, launched her torpedoes with devastating speed and skill and demolished three Japanese submarines. By the destruction of these formidable and threatening hostile Fleet units in a single War Patrol, the Batfish contributed significantly to the successful completion of the war. The courage, superb seamanship and gallant fighting spirit of her officers and men reflect the highest credit upon herself and the United States Naval Services."

Now that is how to conduct ASW operations! The submarine's worst enemy another submarine.
Thanks for your service Jim.

About 40 of The USS Providence (SSN-719) Crew and Officers marched with us this year.
It was an honor to have the USS Providence join us in this celebration.

The banner reads: "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way" John Paul Jones - Commander Sloop Providence, 1776

Some Providence ship name history:
The renamed merchant sloop Katy was the first Navy ship named Providence when it commissioned into the Continental Navy. In 1775, under Captain Abraham Whipple, the sloop fought the first at-sea action of the revolution, engaging a Royal Navy Schooner off Conainicut Point in Narragansett Bay. In 1776, John Paul Jones was given the sloop as his first command. This original PROVIDENCE fought against the enemy aggressively and successfully. She captured or sank forty ships.

The second PROVIDENCE, a frigate built in Rhode Island in 1776, ran the British Blockade of the Providence River on her maiden voyage. She was able to procure guns and supplies from France for Continental naval vessels still under construction. From 1779 to 1780 she served with honor as flagship to Commodore Whipple.

The third PROVIDENCE, an Army gondola, was attached to Brigadier General Benedict Arnold's command on Lake Champlain in 1776. She was heavily damaged at the Battle of Valcour Island.

The fourth PROVIDENCE, a Cleveland-class cruiser, was commissioned in 1945 and recommissioned in 1959 as a guided missile cruiser. She served as the flagship for the Seventh Fleet off the coast of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict. This PROVIDENCE compiled a proud record of service, winning the Navy Unit Commendation from November 1966 to May 1968. She was decommissioned in 1978 and is mothballed in Washington.

The current USS Providence (SSN-719) was built by General Dynamic Electric Boat division and commissioned on July 27, 1985. She is the first 688 class submarine to be built with the Tomahawk Missile Vertical Launch System (VLS). The Sub is home ported in Groton, CT and has received many awards including Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, Navy Expeditionary Medals, Meritorious Unit Commendations, Navy Unit Commendations, and five Battle E (Navy "E" Ribbon) awards, three of which were consecutive, and most recently the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.

Many thanks to the COB and XO for helping organize the Boat's appearance for the parade.

Our contingent was organized with WWII Submarine Veterans taking point sounding a klaxon diving alarm with their submarine model in tow, followed by the USSVI subvets in two decorated trucks with kids and grandkids waving flags.

The USS Providence crew followed us and received appreciative applause and thanks from many of the people gathered to watch the parade. They deserved the admiration from the crowd having just returned a couple of months ago from a very long deployment around the world. (hat tip: Bubblehead)

One last bit of fun with this post....

I couldn't help but do a periscope shot through the rear view mirror while underway. Had to do a little digital editing to get the right effect of my close contact in the baffles.

Thanks to to Crew for your service and help this year at the 222 Bristol 4th of July Parade. -LL

Update 7/6/07 - 23:00: Navy NewsStand Eye on the Fleet has an image of the Providence as well.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Space Shot

Astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell describe the filming of a Polaris missile shot from the USS Benjamin Franklin (SSBN 640) as filmed from the spacecraft Gemini VII while in orbit.

Dec 6, 1965

Five years earlier the USS George Washington (SSBN 598) first launch of a Polaris is documented in newsreel footage.

July 21, 1960

Borman and Lovell hoping for a low ballistic coefficient on reentry and Franklin and Washington hoping for a high ballistic coefficient.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What did you do on leave?

Summer 1983
So there we were on the USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN641) at the end of maneuvering watch heading out on patrol from Kings Bay, GA and the Quartermaster turns to me and says "Petty Officer NAVET what did you do while on leave this past off-crew?".

My response was, in a matter of fact voice, "I went sailing in Newport." The Navigator thought it was the funniest thing and laughed out loud, having just heard what a great leave the QM had. Guess he thought I was making fun of my paper and parallels counterpart's story, with a one up story of my own.

Sailors do love to spin stories, sea stories at home and stories of home while at sea, with a goal of one upping someone elses story.

I was serious about the sailing having spent a week crisscrossing Narragansett Bay on my neighbor's 35' sloop. If you're like me and had grown up in Rhode Island half way between Newport, RI and Groton CT. you're bound to have done three things; seen a submarine, gone stripier fishing and been sailing in Newport.

Summer sailing is usually a bit tamer than this, but the video brings back the urge to be "underway under wind power".

That love of wind speed had me windsurfing the 4' to 6' swells off one of my favorate spots, The University Of Rhode Island Bay Campus where the Oceanographic research ship RV Endeavor tires up. I do love it here in the Ocean State....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Cost of Doing Business in NY

If you're a private company with primarily with one customer, the US Government, you have to be careful in how you go about improving productivity, saving money and eventually saving US taxpayer's dollars.

Such is what Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. (BPMI) found out on Oct 11, 2006 when they announced plans to close their Schenectady, NY operation and consolidate the majority of its operations at one site in near Pittsburgh PA.

BPMI made this decision after the conclusion of a six month study. Jim Dillon, the manager of procurement operations said: "It is a sister operation of ours in Pittsburgh and we are trying to make sure we provide the best service at the lower price to the Navy."

Bechtel Plant Machinery is a major supplier of nuclear propulsion systems for the US Navy. It's contracts run into the hundreds or millions a year.

Basic nuclear propulsion plant components (very basic)

The Navy continues to struggle with high shipbuilding costs, limited budgets and an aging fleet. The age of current nuclear submarines fleet will be particularly acute in coming years with the predominant 688 class nearing the end of their service life.

The fact that of one of the Navy's key vendors was looking to reduce costs should be welcome news to those in government concerned with controlling defense costs and the federal budget.

NOT SO for the Senators from New York.
One month after the BPMI's restructuring announcement Senators Clinton and Schumer of NY took action to stop the company's consolidation plans.

(Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton of NY)

In November 2006 Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, and Congressman Michael McNulty met with representatives from Bechtel and released a joint statement.

"Today, we met with representatives from Bechtel to let them know, in the strongest possible terms, that we want Bechtel to reconsider its decision to relocate 260 jobs to Pennsylvania from Schenectady. We expressed our extreme disappointment that this decision was reached without any consultation with Congress, the state of New York or the county and city of Schenectady. We have requested specific information from Bechtel and will follow up with them in the near future to continue our ongoing conversations."

After the November 2006 elections in which the Democrats pick up the Senate seat covering the Pittsburgh, PA area Senator Schumer put out a Press Release stating:


Schumer, Clinton, McNulty: Bechtel Puts 60-Day Hold on Further Action

(Washington, DC): -- Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton and Congressman Michael R. McNulty (D-Green Island) have been told that Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. (BPMI) will wait 60 days to make any further decisions related to its plan to effectively close its facility in Schenectady and relocate 260 white-collar jobs to the Pittsburgh area. Senators Schumer and Clinton and Congressman McNulty released the following statement in response:

"We are encouraged to learn that Bechtel is willing to allow the City of Schenectady and New York State to present arguments for maintaining its current operation in Schenectady. We will continue to work aggressively with Mayor Stratton, County Legislature Chairwoman Susan Savage, and State officials in the effort to persuade Bechtel to reverse their decision and keep the 260 jobs in Schenectady."

After getting Bechtel to delay their final decision for 60 days the Senators six days later place further demands on the company with an additional Press Release. In this they urged the company to stop recruitment efforts in Pittsburg and inquiring about relocation plans by employees.

In February 2007 Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. decided to retain 130 positions in Schenectady, NY thereby reducing it's consolidation effort. In addition the state of New York and the Empire State Development (ESD) Corp. will provide a $2 million grant for a new technology center creating an engineering center for Bechtel and office space that is in move-in condition.

Finally in June the U.S. Department of Defense announced a $69 million addition to a $129 million contract won in October by Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. 85 percent of the work will be done in Pittsburg, PA with Schenectady, NY getting the remaining 15 percent.

Senator Hillary Clinton is a member of the "Senate Armed Service Committee" and the "Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works" that oversees Nuclear Safety.

Senator Charles Schumer is a member of mostly Judiciary and Finance Committees.

I thought the timeline was interesting with company decision directly after the election, coincidence I guess. Both Senators moved fast on saving those jobs for there State, but I don't see the urgency with only a couple of hundred jobs moving one state or less than 500 miles away. It's not like they were outsourcing nuclear engineering to Mexico!

Senator's time and taxpayer money well spent?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Harold Froehlich, Aeonautical Engineer and Submersible Designer

You would think the engineers lead boring lives hunkered over mathematical models of hydraulic pressure and maximum structural loads, not Harold "Bud" Froehlich.

Mr. Froehlich was born in 1922 and served in the US Navy during WWII as a signalman. He went on to become an aeronautical engineer and worked for Boeing and other companies before ending up at General Mills (the Cheerios people) in his native Minnesota. At General Mills he helped design high-altitude balloons for the US military before being tasked to help build a mechanical arm for the U.S. Navy-owned bathyscaphe Trieste in 1960.

Alvin Submerged (Source: NOAA)

As part of his work on balloons he specialized in designing small spheres able to endure hostile environments. Mr. Froehlich also worked on the design for a self-propelled, two-man deep-sea vessel called the Seapup.

This talent and earlier experience became crucial factors in his selection as the project leader for the design of a new US Navy deep-diving research submersible. That submersible was later named "Alvin" by the US Navy after Allyn Vine of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Vine another engineer was a key proponent for the U.S. to develop a national program for manned undersea vehicles.

Part of
Mr. Froehlich team's unique design was to combine a new buoyant material called syntactic foam with hollow metal spheres to build the vessel. Confident in his design Harold even participated in one the first test dives made in 1964 near Woods Hole, Mass. -- "to the great depth of 27 feet," he later said. Years later Mr. Froehlich told Minnesota Public Radio that winning the bid to design and build Alvin was an astonishing feat, because the Navy initially "was skeptical about a Wheaties company designing a submarine."

With Vine and Navy officer Charles B. Momsen Jr son of "Swede" Momsen., Mr. Froehlich received the 1989 Elmer A. Sperry Award for "the invention, development and deployment of the deep diving submarine, Alvin." The award is sponsored by prominent engineering societies.

After leaving General Mills Mr. Froehlich went on to work for the 3M company, designing surgical equipment and retiring in 1989.

Harold "Bud" Froehich died this past week at the age of 82. An engineer at a food company who designed one of the worlds most famous deep-sea submersibles.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tribute to the Lost Boats of WWII

During WWII the US Submarine Service lost 52 Submarines, 375 Officers and 3,131 Enlisted Men.

The United States submarine service represented only 1.6% of Navy personnel at the time but suffered the highest percentage of casualties within any of the services; a casualty rate of about 22 percent. They also exacted a terrible price on the enemy accounting for 55% of all the Japanese ships sunk; this included a full third of the Japanese Imperial Navy.

Typically the loss of Submarine included the loss of the entire crew...

I put together this video as a 2007 Memorial Day tribute to those still on "Eternal Patrol".

The Final Patrol

Lord, this departed shipmate with dolphins on his chest is part of an outfit known as the best.

Make him welcome and take him by the hand. You'll find without a doubt he was the best in all the land.

So, heavenly Father add his name to the roll of our dear departed shipmates still on patrol.

Let him know that we who survive will always keep their memories alive.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

USS Scorpion (SSN-589) - 39 years ago

Posted so we do not forget that the dangers of the sea and how the service of submariners during hot wars and cold conflicts can exact a toll that still remains a mystery.

USS Scorpion SSN-589 (US Navy photo)
Photo location was Naples Italy and was taken a little over 1 month before her loss.

The following officers and men were lost with Scorpion (SSN-589).

Officers Chief Petty Officers
  • Commander Francis Atwood Slattery,
    Commanding Officer
  • Lieutenant Commander David B. Lloyd,
    Executive Officer
  • Lieutenant Commander Daniel P. Stephens
  • Lieutenant John Patrick Burke
  • Lieutenant George Patrick Farrin,
  • Lieutenant Robert Walter Flesch
  • Lieutenant William Clarke Harwi
  • Lieutenant Charles Lee Lamberth
  • Lieutenant John C. Sweet
  • Lieutenant (j.g.) James W. Forrester, Jr.
  • Lieutenant (j.g.) Michael A. Odening
  • Lieutenant (j.g.) Laughton D. Smith

  • TMC Walter William Bishop,
    Chief of the Boat (COB)
  • MMC(SS) Robert Eugene Bryan
  • RMC(SS) Garlin Ray Denney
  • RMCS(SS) Robert Johnson
  • MMCS(SS) Richard Allen Kerntke
  • QMCS(SS) Frank Patsy Mazzuchi
  • EMC(SS) Daniel Christopher Peterson
  • HMC(SS) Lynn Thompson Saville
  • ETC(SS) George Elmer Smith, Jr.
  • YNCS(SS) Leo Williazm Weinbeck
  • MMC(SS) James Mitchell Wells
Enlisted Men
  • FTG3(SS) Keith Alexander M. Allen
  • IC2 Thomas Edward Amtower
  • MM2 George Gile Annable
  • FN(SS) Joseph Anthony Barr, Jr.
  • RM2(SS) Michael Jon Bailey
  • IC3 Michael Reid Blake
  • MM1(SS) Robert Harold Blocker
  • MM2(SS) Kenneth Ray Brocker
  • MM1(SS) James K. Brueggeman
  • RMSN Daniel Paul Burns, Jr.
  • IC2(SS) Ronald Lee Byers
  • MM2(SS) Douglas Leroy Campbell
  • MM3(SS) Samuel J. Cardullo
  • MM2(SS) Francis King Carey
  • SN Gary James Carpenter
  • MM1(SS) Robert Lee Chandler
  • MM1(SS) Mark Helton Christiansen
  • SD1(SS) Romeo Constantino
  • MM1(SS) Robert James Cowan
  • SD1(SS) Joseph Cross
  • FA Michael Edward Dunn
  • ETR2 Richard Philip Engelhart
  • FTGSN William Ralph Fennick
  • IC3(SS) Vernon Mark Foli
  • SN Ronald Anthony Frank
  • CSSN(SS) Michael David Gibson
  • IC2 Steven Dean Gleason
  • STS2(SS) Michael Edward Henry
  • SK1(SS) Larry Leroy Hess
  • ETR1(SS) Richard Curtis Hogeland
  • MM1(SS) John Richard Houge
  • EM2 Ralph Robert Huber
  • TM2(SS) Harry David Huckelberry
  • EM3 John Frank Johnson
  • IC3(SS) Steven Leroy Johnson
  • QM2(SS) Julius Johnston, III
  • FN Patrick Charles Kahanek
  • TM2(SS) Donald Terry Karmasek
  • ETR3(SS) Rodney Joseph Kipp
  • MM3 Dennis Charles Knapp
  • MM1(SS) Max Franklin Lanier
  • ET1(SS) John Weichert Livingston
  • ETN2 Kenneth Robert Martin
  • ET1(SS) Michael Lee McGuire
  • TMSN Steven Charles Miksad
  • TMSN Joseph Francis Miller, Jr.
  • MM2(SS) Cecil Frederick Mobley
  • QM1(SS) Raymond Dale Morrison
  • QM3(SS) Dennis Paul Pferrer
  • EM1(SS) Gerald Stanley Psopisil
  • IC3 Donald Richard Powell
  • MM2 Earl Lester Ray, Jr.
  • CS1(SS) Jorge Luis Santana
  • ETN2(SS) Richard George Schaffer
  • SN William Newman Schoonover
  • SN Phillip Allan Seifert
  • MM2(SS) Robert Bernard Smith
  • ST1(SS) Harold Robert Snapp, Jr.
  • ETM2(SS) Joel Candler Stephens
  • MM2(SS) David Burton Stone
  • EM2 John Phillip Sturgill
  • YN3 Richard Norman Summers
  • TMSN John Driscoll Sweeney, Jr.
  • ETM2(SS) James Frank Tindol, III
  • CSSN Johnny Gerald Veerhusen
  • TM3 Robert Paul Violeiti
  • ST3 Ronald James Voss
  • FTG1(SS) John Michael Wallace
  • MM1(SS) Joel Kurt Watkins
  • MMFN Robert Westley Watson
  • TM2 James Edwin Webb
  • SN Ronald Richard Williams
  • MM3 Robert Alan Willis
  • IC1(SS) Virgil Alexander Wright, III
  • TM1(SS) Donald H. Yarsbrough
  • ETR2(SS) Clarence Otto Young, Jr.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Alvin On-Line Simulator

Have you ever wanted to pilot a submersible into the depths of the Ocean?

Not many of us will ever get that chance but if a cyber-space version will pass then check out the Woods Hole Oceanographic Insititution's Alvin Simulator. Used as a training tool for scientists it has standalone session mode as well as a joined session mode for collaborative missions.
(Screen shot of Alvin simulator.)

WHOI website provides this description as to the use of the simulator:

"In addition to full mission planning for WHOI scientists, the Alvin simulator was intended to provide applicability as a public relations tool so that users at home would be able to find out about WHOI research.

One of the sumulator's outstanding features is its full functionality as a stand-alone session once the interface is downloaded. All the meters and devices reflect real data that is calculated by the underlying algorithms. Furthermore, scientists as well as public users are allowed to collaborate in teams of up to three persons - just as in the real Alvin cockpit where a team consists of one pilot and two scientists.

Every member's actions in a joined session will influence the virtual dive and will be reflected on all the remote team members displays. In addition, an optional chat tool was provided for communication and surveillance purposes. Since scientists might be separated, the simulator is configured for distributive network-based session management which is supported by a Java 1.3 servlet."

There is a link on the site to an instructional video.

You won't be shooting sea monsters, this is primarily a technical training tool full of device controls and system gages used for mission tasks rehearsals.

If the simulator is to techie for you then here is some video footage from Alvin at a depth of 7644 feet.

Scientists do get excited when they see something unusual or unexpected, such as a lake at the bottom of the ocean.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Blog Changes

Thought it was time for some updating. Changes will be on-going for a few days.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Women, Guitars and Submarine Acoustics

Could the video be a valid argument to have women on submarines?

Artist: Mia Johnson - Style: Folk/Rock - Song Title: Sailor
Here's another sample of her music.

Submarines not the place for a low cut evening dress, except if you're the XO on halfway night. But as long as its a museum like the USS Ling I'm all for "Women, Guitars an Submarine Acoustics".

Sunday, May 06, 2007

What's in a Name - Honor the Monitor

If you follow the submarine blogs you'll see the topic of ship naming surface now and again. There is usually a debate on the best names for submarines which range from fish to States to historic leaders such as Presidents.

There is now a movement to have one of the new Virginia class attack submarines named after a famous naval vessel of the civil war, Lincoln's secret weapon, the USS Monitor.

USS Monitor vs CSS Virginia (Source: National Archives)

The introduction of the innovative USS Monitor could be argued as the end of sailing warships and the beginning of the big iron warships domination of Naval efforts for the next 100 years.

The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable has started a grassroots campaign to have the memory of the USS Monitor honored "For the sake of history, tradition, and symmetry".
USS Virginia "Monitor?" (Photo Source: US Navy)

Now if only the Navy could put a naval rail gun turret in the sail the "USS Monitor" name would be a sure thing. ;-)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Sub arrives for Fleet week in South Florida

News Video: USS Memphis Arrives at Port Everglades

The USS Memphis arrives for Fleet week in Southern Florida.

Why do reporters always seemed to be fixated on creature comforts, like personal hygiene and sleeping arrangements?

Next report high drama with mess cooking and movie night.

Additional unedited video: Surface transit to port.

Update 5/2/07: A much better report on the USS Memphis while they're in port for fleet week. Disregard the previous snarky comment on mess cooking and movie night.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

NAVY - it's not just a job, it's a musical video adventure!

Official - Accelerate Your Life

Unofficial - Ha Ya Ya

Long skimmer deployments in the hot Middle Eastern sun will do that to you, I guess.

Most of my deployments were in the cold deep Atlantic, different time, different adversary, different music.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Bonefish Fire - recommend read

xformed at ChaoticSynapticActivity has an excellent piece on the USS Bonefish (SS582) fire in 1988. Lots of first hand accounts of the rescue efforts by the USS Carr (FFG52).
USS Bonefish (SS582)
(Photo credit: Navsource.org - Courtesy of Paul Perris, CSG-7 retired)

The Bonefish was one of the B-Girls: USS Barbel (SS580), USS Blueback (SS581) and the USS Bonefish (SS582). In 1980 I took a tour on the one of the B-Girls in Norfolk while I was at NAVET C school in Damn Neck, Va. I thought she was a Nuke until the crewmember showing me the boat said otherwise.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


A New England nor'easter sank the Russian Juliett 484 museum submarine today.
The news reported as of yesterday 4/17 that the boat was taking on water aft.

Juliett 484 Summer 2006 (Photo by Lubbers Line)
Then local news today 4/18 had this report on the sinking.

Type: Guided Missile Submarine
Class: Project 651 (NATO designation Juliett)
Launched: 11 March 1965
At: Krasnaya Sormova Works, Gorky, Russia
Commissioned: 31 October 1965
Length: 297 feet
Beam: 32 feet, 10 inches
Draft: 23 feet
Displacement: 3,174 tons (surfaced)
Currently - 4,137 tons (submerged)
Juliett 484 April 18, 2007 (Photo by Lubbers Line)
(Click on photo for a larger view)

I volunteered for a while at the sub museum and it was a sad sight when I stopped by today and took the above photo. She wasn't water-tight having been modified with access doors in the forward and aft torpedo compartments. The hatches were the oval surface ship type that could be dogged shut. Because of the subs age the ballast tanks were a constant maintenance issue requiring repairs to sections where they were rusting through.

Today I spoke to the Duty Officer from the Sunday before Monday's storm; he felt the boat was in good shape to ride out the storm when he left. The problem was that the city closed the hurricane barrier adjecent to the sub for the storm surge. The storm surge caused the sub to ride high on its mooring lines and shift in its normal berth. When the water receded the bow rested high on a shoal area and the stern sank deeper. As I recall the aft ballast tanks were the ones in worst shape and the free flood area aft below the superstructure has lots of areas for water to collect. We always had to pump these pockets out after a big rain.

Once the stern water level reached the access hatch the aft torpedo room started to slowly flood. As evidanced in the photo the boat is now on the bottom at the pier and the Coast Guard has ordered the area closed off to visitors. The mooring lines are stressed to the breaking point and one has already parted. A salvage company was on-site evaluating the effort required to re-float her.

Let's just hope that with all submarines surfacing equal dives.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Headline of the Day

From the Wired News Blog: Navy Chief to Shipbuilders: You Suck!

Has a sort of blue collar shipyard ring to it, don't you think?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Iran's Territorial Duplicity - back story

Everyone knows the story by now of the Iranian capture and eventual release of the 15 British sailors and Marines. But the back story or real story I believe is that the Iranians have been acting agressively and the Brits and Americas have been keeping close watch on them. A little news video timeline to demonstrate:

1) Iran back in Feb was violating Iraqi waters in runs to Iraq's main oil export terminal.

So they are asked to leave Iraq's waters with no repercussions but we're left wondering what there up to.

2) Iran's forces a month later ambush and take 15 Brit Naval personnel hostage.

First the Iranians say they don't want to escalate the situation, but immediately make the Sailors and Marines political pawns.

3) Finally the 15 Brits are released.

Framed by the first and last news video stories you can see that the Brits were oviously watching the Iranians closely. They were also doing their duty in protecting the Iraqi oil facilities and looking for smugglers.

To me the Iranians only managed to raise suspicions of there activities even further despite their, all is forgiven, politically calculated pardon.

As for the conduct of the Brit sailors while captive, different topic and no comment.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Australian Submarine Crew Retention Trouble

The Australian Navy has been having some submarine crew retention problems lately and the government has a solution.
(Source: AU Navy Photo -Collins Class)

From the theage.com.au: Defence to get big spending boost

The Federal Government is planning a huge increase in defence spending to overcome deficiencies in areas such as the submarine service.

Defence sources say the money, to be made available in the May budget, will be used to recruit thousands more defence personnel and offer incentives for existing staff to stay.

Numbers in the submarine service are 25 to 30 per cent below requirements. As a result, the number of days at sea per boat has been cut from a planned 127 this year to 87.

Sources said the navy was having problems retaining WA-based submarine crew members, who were being offered $135,000 to work in the private sector, particularly in the mining industry, almost double their usual pay.

The situation has become so serious that defence is "cold calling" former submarine crews and asking them to return.

Although increases in pay and retention bonuses are an incentive it doesn't help when your only Submarine Rescue system the Remora has been sitting at the bottom of ocean off Western Australia's Rottnest Island since December. I blogged a little about the Remora's problems here back in September 2005.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

To the North Pole

A couple of interesting news items recently relating to the submarines operating at and under the north pole.
First TheSubReport links to an article about the upcoming Ice Exercise 2007 (ICEX-2007). Submarine Force Announces This Year's Ice Exercise Participants
(USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716} north pole 2006 - US Navy Photo)

The USS ALEXANDRIA (SSN 757), home ported in Groton, Conn. will particapate with a Royal Navy Trafalgar class submarine in classified arctic operations in March and April 2007. But if you're not a submariner on SSN 757 or that un-named Royal Navy Trafalgar class submarine you can still reach and submerge at the north pole either this summer or in 2008.

A group called Deep Ocean Expeditions ,that operates science expeditions using the Russian MIR submersibles and support ships, is planning the first ever descent to the Amundsen Plain on the ocean floor of the north pole. From a Russian new service Russian Submersible To Reach 5 Km Depth.

(Russian MIR Submersible - NOAA Photo)

Here is the link to the expedition website "Submersible Dive to the Real North Pole". It's a little rich for me at $80,000USD to dive in the MIR to a 14,500 feet depth at the north pole. As a non-diver it will cost $15,000 to stay aboard the support ship for the duration of the expedition. A lot cheaper than the Russian equivalent to space tourism.

It is a once a lifetime event and an adventure in making history riding a nuclear icebreaker to the north pole and diving in a submersible to the bottom on the arctic ocean at the top of the world.

(Gulf of Alaska seamounts 2002 - NOAA & WHOI Alvin Submersible Video)

The closest I could find to wet the appetite for deep sea exploration is the above video from the Gulf of Alaska.

If anyone wants to fund a blogger on the Expedition I'm willing to go and write about the experience. I'll try not to say it was "way cool".

Friday, March 16, 2007

First Day Back

I've been away from the Submarine Blogosphere for a few months and have missed it. Not to take things too seriously I thought this was appropriate. Enjoy...

And Admiral Stupid on the T-shirt is not my doing, so from one bubblehead to another no disrespect intended.